YouTube says Apple Vision Pro app is ‘on the roadmap’ — what we know so far

Apple Vision Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Last week the Apple Vision Pro launched with over 600 apps and games designed specifically for the iPhone maker's new VR/AR headset. But a few notable platforms were missing, such as Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube. In a bit of a course correction, YouTube now says an app could be coming to the Vision Pro down the line, according to a recent statement the company gave to the Verge.

YouTube now says it's "excited" by the launch of Apple's highly anticipated mixed-reality headset, and a YouTube app for the Vision Pro is on the company's roadmap. 

“We’re excited to see Vision Pro launch and we’re supporting it by ensuring YouTube users have a great experience in Safari," YouTube spokesperson Jessica Gibby told the outlet. "We do not have any specific plans to share at this time, but can confirm that a Vision Pro app is on our roadmap.”

While it remains unclear what kind of development timeline or launch window YouTube has in mind, it's a promising revelation nonetheless. Prior to the Vision Pro's launch, YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix all declined to introduce a native app or allow their iPad apps to run on the headset. Only Netflix has provided a reason so far, with CEO Greg Peters explained that "the device is so subscale" that he's not convinced it'll end up "yielding a return" for the streamer. That's a nice way of saying that, until Apple's mixed-reality headset proves to be more than just a flash in the pan, Netflix will continue focusing its efforts on more reliable platforms. 

YouTube said in January it had no immediate plans to support Apple’s headset. In the past, YouTube and parent company Google have been slow to embrace new Apple features, taking years to integrate functionality. So it could be a while yet before we see a YouTube app for the Vision Pro. Also unclear is whether YouTube will opt for a dedicated Vision Pro version of its app or will simply tweak its existing iPad app for use on the headset. Currently, you can only watch YouTube in Safari on the Vision Pro. Alternatively, Apollo developer Christian Selig has launched an app called Juno for watching YouTube on the Vision Pro. 

When will YouTube's 3D videos come to the Vision Pro?

One of the Apple Vision Pro's biggest selling points is its 3D spatial video experiences. The iPhone maker teamed up with some of the best streaming services like Disney Plus and Prime Video to offer 3D movies at launch. But neither Juno nor the web version of YouTube allows Vision Pro users to watch YouTube library of 360 and VR videos.

Apple spokesperson Jackie Roy told the Verge this is because "much of this content was created for devices that do not deliver a high-quality spatial experience."

"In some cases, this content could also cause motion discomfort," Roy continued. "We’ve focused our efforts on delivering the best spatial media experience possible including spatial photos and videos, Apple Immersive Video, and 3D movies available on Apple TV.”

There is no word on whether the forthcoming YouTube app will support its 3D content on the Vision Pro. WebXR, an application programming interface or API for web content and apps that can interface with mixed-reality hardware, could be a potential pathway to YouTube VR support on the web. 

While Apple did say that it's working on it, it's still a new standard with several limitations. WebXR doesn't yet "take full advantage of the power, performance and interaction capabilities of ‌Apple Vision Pro‌ and visionOS," Roy told the Verge, but the company is actively contributing to W3C web standards including WebXR.

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.